Justin Amash officially declares his ‘independence’ from the GOP. Prelude for 2020 presidential run?

grab from https://youtu.be/4jNvxSHbIYo
Screen capture … A June 14 “Squash Amash” rally in his home district drew hundreds … Credit: Cronyism In The Capitol

On July 4, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, declared his independence from the GOP in a Washington Post op-ed. Many say that the long-rumored move to “independent” political status is a prelude to the five-term congressman announcing he will seek the Libertarian Party nomination for president in 2020.

Amash has emerged from obscurity in recent months for one reason only … that he has been the only Republican in Congress to join with Democrats in calling for President Trump’s impeachment.

“Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party,” he wrote in the Post. “No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.”

His op-ed announcement took aim at the GOP, Congress, and the overall American political system. “The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty — principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family,” he stated. “In recent years, though, I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.”

Amash summoned up George Washington’s warning in his farewell address about partisanship and the dangers it represents to the future of the country and that it is the people’s “worst enemy.”

“True to Washington’s fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law,” Amash wrote. “The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy.”

“These are consequences of a mind-set among the political class that loyalty to party is more important than serving the American people or protecting our governing institutions,” he continued. “The parties value winning for its own sake, and at whatever cost. Instead of acting as an independent branch of government and serving as a check on the executive branch, congressional leaders of both parties expect the House and Senate to act in obedience or opposition to the president and their colleagues on a partisan basis.”

It’s impossible to deny that the op-ed contains a great deal of truth.

“In this hyperpartisan environment, congressional leaders use every tool to compel party members to stick with the team, dangling chairmanships, committee assignments, bill sponsorships, endorsements and campaign resources,” Amash wrote. “As donors recognize the growing power of party leaders, they supply these officials with ever-increasing funds, which, in turn, further tightens their grip on power.

“The founders envisioned Congress as a deliberative body in which outcomes are discovered. We are fast approaching the point, however, where Congress exists as little more than a formality to legitimize outcomes dictated by the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.”

Of course, none of this is revelatory. The fact is, at one time, Amash was popular in his own district. He had to be in order to win five consecutive terms.

However, his opposition to President Trump has been a political failure. A poll by Strategic National in Amash’s third congressional district, as reported by Breitbart on Wednesday, indicates he has just 17 percent support in the GOP primary, with his strongest challenger there outpolling him by double digits. It remains to be seen if Amash will run for re-election to his seat as an independent, or if he will announce a run for the Libertarian presidential nomination.

As BPR reported, hundreds of voters celebrated Trump’s June birthday with a ‘Squash Amash’ protest near his office in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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Victor Rantala

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